Thursday, March 2, 2017

Ninth Doctor Faces Mythical Threat in New Comic

Doctor Who

The Doctors are in: Titan Comics on Wednesday released two new Doctor Who stories. In “Slayer’s Song: Part 2,” the Ninth Doctor, Rose, and Captain Jack Harkness continue their adventures in Brazil, while […]

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8 Best Tools For Making Animated Videos


This collection of free and premium video creation tools can help you create your very own 2D and 3D character animations and bring your ideas to life. Targeted at both professional animators and amateurs in the marketing and freelance industry, this list of tools is suitable for anyone who’s interested in making their own animated videos.

Animaker

Despite being fairly new to the market, Animaker will amaze you with its advanced designing and customization options. Animaker allows users to create complex animated videos by setting multiple movements, facial expressions, and character actions. Users can choose from a broad range of premade scenes and even apply animated screen effects to create a truly engaging atmosphere. Apart from its comprehensive gallery of premade characters, objects, scenes, and props Animaker also has a big collection of free music and sound effects.

GoAnimate

Go Animate is one of the top competitors on the market and presents one of the best options out there for creating truly engaging animated videos. This tool does not only offer an excellent drag-and-drop editing option with multiple designs and customization options but it has one of the most comprehensive libraries of premade characters, scenes, and objects you can find. What makes it truly stand out from the other tools is its amazing character building feature which allows users to create basically an unlimited amount of unique characters.

Animatron

The tool has 200 pre-animated sets which can be easily changed via drag-and-drop. You can choose from thousands of free animated characters, props, and scenes or take advantage of some of the professionally designed ones for a small fee. Another important feature is the tool’s advanced object customization which allows the change of colors, elements positioning, and more within a premade object or character. With Animatron you can also export both in GIF and HD video, and even create your own HTML5 animated banners

Video Scribe

VideoScribe is a premium video design software created by Sparkol. The tool is known as designers’ go-to instrument for creating unique whiteboard animated videos. The tool has plenty of features, among which are the options to fully customize your characters and choose from a vast library of royalty free images and audio files.

PowToon

With PawToon you can create animated videos and presentations via a web-based drag-and-drop design tool with an advanced set of design features. Pawtoons has a large collection of premade objects in different styles, like paper, line art, and cartoon. You can easily switch between scenes and replace them with template scenes from the tool’s library. Characters have a preset range of actions and can be moved from point to point within the scene. The tool has a long list of fonts and objects to choose from and allows users to create amazing videos in minutes.

Moovly

Moovly is a simplified web-based tool for creating animated videos. Apart from offering a wide variety of design options, Moovly is absolutely free which makes is one of the top choices in the industry for marketers and freelancers. Video editing with Moovly is done via a user-friendly dashboard that allows drag-and-drop customization.

CrazyTalk

With CrazyTalk you can turn your two-dimensional drawings and static images into life-like characters. You can puppeteer facial impressions with mouse movements and export avatars from any image. Lip synching with voiceover audio files is completely automated. You can also turn your own photos into 3D faces and export animated avatars to other animation tools to work with full body character animations.

iClone 6

iClone 6  is a real-time 3D animation software that allows users to create and customize 3D characters with realistic or stylized looks and build animated videos with a range of premade scenes and props. Some of the main features of the tool are the option for advanced facial animation and puppeteering, auto lip-synching, and even an advanced soft cloth physics animation. The tool offers advanced soft shadow and lighting effects, multiple camera systems with a mini viewpoint and a live switch, as well as advanced scene generation of natural landscapes and cityscapes.

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War Doctor’s Final Audio Adventures Available Now

Doctor Who

The War Doctor is back in his fourth, and final, audio anthology from Big Finish Productions. The four-disc Volume 4: Casualties of War CD collection is on sale now from the Big Finish […]

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5 Key Areas to Help Manage Your Design and Content Creation Team


Even more radical than funny cat videos and memes in GIF form, the rise of the Internet has really empowered companies of all sizes to work with remote teams all around the world. This has dramatically impacted how modern business is being conducted because you could have team members everywhere from Sacramento to Sri Lanka. In addition to making this more convenient and cost efficient for everyone, it also opens up a whole new world of opportunity for business growth and scalability in the process.

It’s hardly practical to try and get everyone together in the same physical room for daily meetings, but this doesn’t mean that teams cannot suitably and effectively collaborate on increasingly complex projects. Indeed, there are online tools available to help you manage your creative team members no matter where they are located on the globe.

Project Management

At the very top of the priority pyramid is agency project management software. You want a system that is comprehensive yet accessible, and that’s exactly what WorkflowMax by Xero aims to deliver.

The project management software pulls together a number of tools and utilities into one convenient package, expediting the whole creative process so “you have more time to create amazing work.” Choose between several time tracking options so team members can stay in “the zone” and every detail about the job can be found in one place. This is an all-in-one project management solution that is ideal for creative agencies.

It’s not just about managing the actual creative process itself either, as WorkflowMax is also configured to help you get more customers with a lead manager and a solution for providing client quotes. Other features include integrated job costing, purchase orders, reports and more. This encompasses the whole business cycle.

Pricing starts as low as $15/month with a two-week, no obligation free trial.

Asset Management

When you work in the creative industry — whether that’s in app development, web development, graphics, video production, or anything else — you’ve likely got a lot of files floating around that your team members will need to access. You could have multiple revisions, each of which have notes from a variety of different interested parties too. The last thing you want is to hunt through an endless email thread to find what you need.

One of the most powerful solutions to this problem of asset management is Google Drive (and Google Docs). Chances are that everyone you’re working with already has a Google account, so it couldn’t be easier to get started. Individual files can be easily shared, just as you can share whole folders. In the case of documents, spreadsheets and the like, you even have access to revision history and the ability to add individual notes and track changes.

There are a number of other cloud storage solutions out there, like Dropbox or OneDrive, but Google really makes it easy for everyone involved to access what they need, anywhere and at any time. Everyone gets 15GB for free with upgrades starting as low as $1.99 a month for 100GB or $99.99 a year for 1TB.

Team Communication

You’ve got email. You’ve got social media. You’ve got instant messengers. You’ve got text messages. You’ve got internal messaging systems within your project management software. It can all get very overwhelming, especially when you need to reference something specific that you discussed with someone.

Instead of having a completely disjointed approach, you can collect all your communication into one place with Slack. This solution is one of the most trusted platforms for teams of all sizes for a broad range of industries. What’s great here is that if you have distributed teams working on different projects with different priorities, it’s easy enough to set up “channels” the same way you’d use hashtags on social media. People can follow the conversations they need to follow, cutting through the noise to the signal they need.

These channels can be for practically anything. Each team can have its own channel. Each project can have its own channel. If someone’s interest crosses over between two groups, they can stay in the loop without having to follow conversations that they can ignore. Files can be easily shared this way too, including the ability to integrate with Google Drive.

The basic version of Slack is free, while upgraded plans with more features start at $6.67/month.

Focus and Productivity

With so many moving parts, keeping track of the entirety of your project can be an incredibly daunting challenge. What’s more, simply tracking the time you spend on each part of the project isn’t really enough either. You want to be as productive and as focused as possible, making the best use of your time. And you want the same for all your team members.

One framework that you might consider for this purpose is using kanban boards, like those available at KanbanFlow. The main idea here is to move items from the left side of the screen (to do) to the right side of the screen (done). The kicker is that you can only have three items in the “in progress” column at any given time. This forces you to focus on what needs to be done right now.

Each item can be color-coded and it can be broken down into any number of sub-tasks. The entire kanban board can also be shared across team members. One feature that is particularly useful with KanbanFlow is the integrated Pomodoro timer, based on the famed Pomodoro technique. Work for a focused 25-minute session, then take a 5-minute break. After three cycles, you earn one longer break. All the while the work that you’re doing is being tracked, so you know exactly how much time you’ve spent on each task.

This simplification of lean project management can really boost both your personal and your team productivity. The free version of KanbanFlow is already really powerful, but you can upgrade to the premium plan for $5 per user per month to unlock additional features like swimlanes, file attachments, search and mass updates.

Invoices and Expenses

As noble as your original intentions might be, it’s equally true that money will always play a vital role in your business. When working with a distributed team, it’s important to keep tabs on everything to do with the money. That includes money coming in and money going out.

The all-new FreshBooks can handle just about all of your accounting needs in a platform that is fast, easy and secure. Your creative team members can invoice you for their work, just as you can invoice your clients for the projects being complete. Track progress, check on outstanding balances, and stay on top of all those expenses too.

In addition to invoicing and expense management, FreshBooks can also be used for time tracking, reporting, and payments, including the ability to accept credit cards online from your customers and clients. They say that you’ll get paid up to 11 days faster when you enable this feature, saving the headache of having to chase down checks and waiting for them to clear.

Following the 30-day free trial (no credit card required), monthly plans with FreshBooks start at $15/month to bill up to 5 active clients.

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The 12 Best Dogs In Sci-Fi History

Best Science Fiction Dogs

Humanity domesticated dogs from European gray wolves 15,000 years ago, and ever since then they’ve proven to be among the most loyal and helpful animal companions. If we’ve been living with them for […]

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Amazon Alexa Boasts 10,000-Plus Skills

Alexa

Amazon Alexa is the ultimate jack of all trades, now boasting more than 10,000 skills. The intelligent personal assistant has tripled her proficiency since September; “We’ve been blown away by the innovation and […]

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This Häagen-Dazs Ice Cream Looks As Freaky As It Does Delicious


Japan is already home to some pretty bizarre and yet totally delicious treats. The latest ice cream flavor, Häagen-Dazs’ mochi ice cream, is one of the weirdest out there. But it’s supposed to […]

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